A recent photograph in the Portland Press Herald accompanying a story titled “Sunny but bold out” (March 18) mistakenly identified the Breakwater Lighthouse at Spring Point as Bug Light.
I should know Bug Light, for I started in 1971 a long-distance negotiation with General Electric of South Portland, the light’s owner, to personally stabilize it from further destruction. We signed a contract in July of ’72 relieving GE of any and all responsibility, should I hurt myself while working on the light. It read in part:
“Howard Philbrick Wright wishes to retard further deterioration of the Bug Light and restore it at his cost with no expense to the General Electric Company. It is agreed that General Electric shall allow Howard P. Wright to enter upon its property for the purpose of restoring the Bug Light and General Electric agrees to allow Howard Wright to restore same.”
Today, one can still see my upper two hand-drilled holes around the old lock area. The bottom two drill holes are covered by today’s lock.
What a mess greeted me as I opened the door! Vandals, over time, had thrown many, many rocks to break out the glass in the lantern room. Glass and rocks were everywhere: the main floor, spiral treads, and in the lantern room. Someone had put up plywood panels where the glass panels had been to keep the weather from doing further interior damage.
My cleanup job was a real task, but I was able at least to stabilize the structure both inside and out. I still have my rough drawing from when, on hands and knees, I measured the distance from each sawed-off rail stanchion around the base of the light so that during the winter I could prefabricate a new railing.
GE got in touch with me (I was teaching outside of Philadelphia) that fall, telling me it would take over and completely refurbish Bug Light with fresh paint as well as bulletproof (stone/rock-proof) clear plastic panels for the lantern room.
GE’s dedication ceremony was in July of 1973. Another point of interest for me is that the home of South Portland Historical Society at Bug Light Park was once owned by my great-grandparents. My mother used to play in the enclosed widow’s walk.
— Special to the Telegram